Tattoos of Ida B. Wells Teachers

Tattoos of Ida B. Wells Teachers

This week teachers and staff of Ida B. Wells High School shared the stories and significance of their tattoos, along with their experiences. Some even shared regrets. 

Max DeLasmutt, a math teacher at Ida B. Wells High School, said he got this tattoo on the last day of his trip to Mexico this past summer. While visiting, he became obsessed with skulls and how they represent Mexican culture and the idea of death and rebirth. DeLasmutt mentioned that he travels a lot and that so far Mexico has been one of his favorite destinations. 

Britni Locke, a social worker at Ida B. Wells, said that the angel placed on the back of her neck is a representation of her daughter and father who, tragically, was shot and passed away. 

Her bunny tattoo represents “always in love, Rory PDX” who is a dear friend of hers.

Another one of her tattoos was done to honor a friend–CJ–who was killed in a car accident in the early 2000s. The mother of CJ has the tattoo as well. 

Next, Abby Griffin, a language arts and leadership teacher, said that this tattoo represents her daughter and husband. The chickadee is for her daughter because when she was younger they sang her a song called ‘Little Bird’. While the teacup represents her husband. In their wedding vows, he talked about how he brings her tea at night but she always falls asleep before she can drink it. The love and devotion she has for her family are adorable. 

The health and P.E. teacher at Ida B. Wells, Anna Herd, said that her infinity sign tattoo represents moving past hardships. The birds symbolize freedom, but Herd mentions that she hates this tattoo. She got it when she was 19 years old thinking that she would love it but now she has regrets. Herd would like to advise all students listening to wait to get a tattoo until they are 21. She plans to get a cover-up because she simply can’t stand how generic it looks. 

Kathy Diamond, a CCE and English teacher at Ida B. Wells has a wild rose on her arm. Diamond said she got this tattoo because she thought it was pretty, but then followed that up by saying that her daughter is like her wild rose, a free-spirited young woman. She wanted to name her daughter Rose, but her husband was opposed to the idea. She has another flower to represent her father who passed away 25 years ago in a plane crash. The flowers are poppies in honor of his nickname “Pop”. In the leaves, they spell out “BULB” because when would travel, and always send back postcards that were signed with ‘BULB’ (bye love you, bye). 

Visual Arts and photography teacher, Matt Carlson shares a tattoo on his right shoulder, done the day he turned 18, he got a Celtic knot representing his belief in  Einstein’s Philosophy of energy which states that any and all living things are neither created nor destroyed. “We are all connected,” said Carlson. He also connects the tattoo to his Irish Celtic connections. 

After reading the Book of Kells, Carlson and his friend both got tattoos to represent the meaning they drew from it. His friend also got a tattoo of a three-leaf clover but later learned the meaning was not something he wanted on his body. “People will often get tattoos and not realize they share another meaning or interpretation,” Carlson said. 

Elyse Newport, an English teacher at Ida B. Wells showed us two of her tattoos, but she has many more. The first of which is a heart with the word “me” in the center. For her, this tattoo is a reminder that she is worthy and deserving of love not only from others but also from herself. She talked about her struggles with self-esteem and how this reminds her to have self-love. 

The other tattoo that Newport showed us was one she got after completing 5 years in therapy and working through her trauma. At the bottom, it says “La Liberada” which directly translates to “The Liberated”. This shows how she is free from her past, and that her experiences do not define her. 

Mark Valentine, a math teacher at Ida B. Wells, showed us the inspiration for a tattoo that he plans to get but hasn’t yet. He’s incredibly excited about his plan and said that he would get it done in the near future. In the middle, it would be a pie symbol and then around it there would be a thick black line with the pie numbers under it in the original calculator font. 

Blair Haddon has a science sleeve in honor of his passion for biology. Part of his tattoo is geometric in a way that looks somewhat like a bee hive. He has a dinosaur, a bee, and a strand of DNA which is incredibly sciency. 

All in all, teachers at IBW have epic tattoos. Many staff members said they plan to get tattoos in the near future, so a follow-up article might be in the works. We appreciate teachers’ willingness to be vulnerable with us and share the stories behind their tattoos.